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Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Careers Hub: Understanding Local Labour Needs and Careers Education

Key findings:

  • Cornwall has significant potential job opportunities in sectors such as data & space, visitor economy, digital, creative, marine and clean energy, to name a few.
  • Careers Leaders, who can help young people to understand what jobs are available, require more time and resource to devote to their significant and challenging roles.
  • To ensure Cornwall's young people are aware of the opportunities available to them, we need to keep building networks, equip Careers Leaders with the right skills and qualifications, make better use of data to understand how aspirations' align with labour market opportunities, and make sure that delivery in schools is up-to-date and impactful.  

The following sectors offer significant potential job opportunities in Cornwall, both now and in the future:

  • Data & Space
  • Visitor Economy
  • Agri-food
  • Creative 
  • Health & Social Care
  • Digital
  • Engineering & Manufacturing
  • Marine
  • Clean Energy
  • Construction

The challenge for Careers Leaders working in schools and colleges is to help young people to understand what jobs are available, and the skills and qualifications that will help them to access such opportunities. A Careers Leader’s role is to develop, implement and evaluate a whole school or college approach to careers. Careers Leaders must take on board feedback from students, staff, parents and employers linked to their careers delivery each year and Ofsted inspections have an increasing focus on quality of careers provision.

To date, Cornish schools and colleges have delivered some of the highest levels of employer engagement nationally since the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Careers Hub launched in 2017, which indicates the willingness of businesses to support careers delivery.

Careers Leaders require the time and resource to devote to their significant and challenging roles. The number of small secondary schools (less than 800 students) in Cornwall means that staff often occupy multiple roles and the risk is that post pandemic recovery curriculums focus explicitly on achievement of academic qualifications, rather than preparing students to navigate a complex array or future choices. Guidance and funding for careers delivery is only provided at secondary school upwards; however, research indicates that gender stereotypes and socio-economic limitations emerge in primary school so, to some degree, starting careers work in secondary schools is too late.

We need to focus on the acquisition of digital skills and the skills needed for sustainable/green jobs - two areas of strength for Cornwall. We also need to ensure equality of opportunity, by developing Supported Employment opportunities and driving social mobility.

Ensuring young people and their parents understand the skills and qualifications that link to opportunities is key. At times, this will involve challenging assumptions that academic pathways offer a better quality pathway than apprenticeships or other technical and vocational routeways.

A significant number of Careers Leaders in Cornwall have undertaken nationally recognised and accredited qualifications in the past 5 years.

However, in addition to this we need to:

  • keep building networks and including Careers Leaders in key skills and business based discussions
  • make better use of data to understand how the aspirations of young people align with labour market opportunities
  • make sure that delivery taking place in schools and colleges is up to date and impactful, especially for students learning in our Special Schools and Alternative Provision Academies

Finally, we must start careers development earlier. That's why the Cornwall Careers Hub are working in partnership with the University of Exeter on a pilot primary school research project, to help build the evidence base and highlight the need for careers work to start with the children in our primary schools.

The Careers Hub Cornwall and Isles of Scilly have created a series of factsheets which provide an excellent overview of some of our key economic sectors, types of jobs available, major employers, and where to get relevant qualifications.

Sectors covered include: 

  • Clean Energy
  • Construction
  • Data and Space
  • Health and Social Care
  • Visitor Economy

Read the factsheets online or download them here